Flash flood warning for Delaware as Tropical Storm Fay brings heavy rain, wind

Heavy rain and wind gusts battered Delaware as Tropical Storm Fay slightly picked up speed and strength as it moved closer to land Friday.

A flash flood warning and tropical storm warning are in effect for parts of Delaware, outlining potential wind gusts of 39 to 57 mph and a storm surge. A high rip current risk is in effect through this evening.

The flood watch continues for Delaware beaches, inland Sussex, Georgetown and Dover. Heavy rain could bring one to four inches with higher totals possible.

As of 8:30 a.m., Delaware Electric Cooperative was reporting 863 customers with power outages, including 473 near Georgetown. Delmarva Power reported 16 outages.

The Delaware Environmental Observing System reported wind gusts of 27 mph in Lewes; 25.1 in Georgetown; 16.2 in Dover; and 44.6 at the Indian River Inlet.

Milford had recorded just 0.98 inches of rain in 24 hours Friday at 1 p.m. and wind gusts of 17.8 mph as Tropical Storm Fay dumped rain on Delaware. Photo by Noah Zucker

As for 24-hour rainfall totals, the system reported the highest rainfall in Rehoboth Beach with 4.1 inches. Coastal towns saw around 2 inches with inland areas recording nearly an inch of rain.

Fay was expected to bring 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain, with the possibility of flash flooding in parts of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England, The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory. That’s down from earlier forecasts of about 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain.

The storm picked up speed Friday morning, moving north around 10 mph (17 kph) and producing top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph), forecasters said. Earlier observations showed it moving at 8 mph (13 kph) with top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph).

Two named storms formed before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season. None of this season’s previous five named storms strengthened into hurricanes.